The humble calendar is a great way to surprise yourself with a new picture of your favourite celebrity every month. What will he be doing in May? Oh look, he's dressed as a cowboy. How about, October? You'll never guess. He's looking longingly out of a window. Great stuff.

Usually the available calendars are dominated by conventionally attractive boyband members, actors and sportsmen, but this year a surprising breakout calendar star has made his way to the top of the bestselling list in Japan.

Loft, a popular chain of goods stores in Japan, has reported that a calendar depicting a certain world leader has been dominating sales in their branches across the country.

That world leader is none other than Russian manly man caricature Vladimir Putin, 66. His rough and ready photoshoots obviously struck a chord with the Japanese public.

The second most popular calendar celebrity is actor Kei Tanaka, 34, famous for his role in the recent hit drama Ossan's Love.

Olympic hero Yuzuru Hanyu came in third (for once), the fresh-faced 24 year old figure skater became overwhelmingly popular this year, so much so that no one could even snap a decent photo of him on his homecoming tour.

Although Mr. Putin is seen as divisive worldwide, perhaps his calendar out-selling those of home-grown heartthrobs is proof that he’s stealing hearts in Japan. According to Livedoor News, one fangirl enthused:

‘I don’t know what he’s like as a president, but he’s so muscly you can’t even tell his age, he’s cooler than anything! Then the difference when he dotes on dogs is so cute!’

It’s hard to say how much this one, unsourced quote can represent Putin calendar owners. It is very possible that rather than the Russian president having leagues of Japanese admirers, the sales are actually fuelled by the leader’s ‘meme’ status and the novelty factor, making this ridiculous calendar the perfect joke present, or at least a humorous conversation starter…

By - Jess.